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DigitalGlobe tracks Hurricane Irma from space

by Rohit Kumar

DigitalGlobe publicly releases pre and post event imagery of the Hurricane Irma affected areas to support the disaster response on the Open Data site. Hurricane Irma is an extremely powerful and catastrophic Cape Verde type Category 5 storm with maximum sustained winds of 175 miles an hour. Irma originated near the Cape Verde Islands on August 30, 2017, from a tropical wave that had travelled off the West African coast three days prior. The storm caused catastrophic damage in Barbuda, Saint Barthélemy, Saint Martin, Anguilla and the Virgin Islands. As per reports, on September 12, 55 people lost their lives due to the hurricane (one in Anguilla, one in Barbados, three in Barbuda, 10 in Cuba, 11 in the French West Indies.

                                                   Fig.1: Most affected Island by Hurricane Irma. © Google Earth

Hurricane Irma brought devastating wind, rain and storm surges to several parts of Florida and the Caribbean. It started as a Category 5 storm in the Atlantic, passed over the Caribbean and near Cuba before making landfall in the Keys and on the Florida peninsula. It then weakened as it made its way up the Florida Gulf Coast and is now a post-tropical cyclone in Georgia.

DigitalGlobe’s FirstLook team traced the course of Hurricane Irma and proactively covered areas of impact. DigitalGlobe’s entire constellation, including WorldView-4, is tasked to pick up everything from the eastern Caribbean to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

Beneath are some pre and post event imagery of Port Barbuda, Tortola and Saint Martin, showing the impact of Hurricane Irma on different islands in the Caribbean. Lush green tropical vegetation has ripped away by a storm’s strong winds, leaving bare ground.

                                                 Fig.2: Pre-post imageries of the Island in the Caribbean. © DigitalGlobe

Barbuda is one of the worst affected islands by this Hurricane. 95% of the buildings in Barbuda are damaged and a considerable number of properties are totally obliterated. The satellite image clearly shows this destruction compared to the image before the storm. The Virgin Islands also took a battering. Among the widespread looting and damage caused to property, over 100 prisoners escaped when Hurricane Irma hit the British Virgin Islands.


DigitalGlobe releases pre-post imageries of the Hurricane Irma, an extremely powerful and catastrophic Cape Verde type Category 5 storm, which destroyed several Caribbean Island. These satellite images are providing most recent and high resolution data to government bodies so that they can execute their rescue operations in full flow and with accurate information which helps disaster management departments and the government to recover quickly from this catastrophic outcome.

SATPALDA is a privately owned company and a leading provider of satellite imagery and GeoSpatial services to the user community. Established in 2002, SATPALDA has successfully completed wide range of photogrammetric and Remote Sensing Projects.

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